It was a rough weekend for the New York Yankees. They came out of the All-Star break scorching hot, grabbing six wins in the first seven games back. They suffered some tough luck losses in a pivotal series with the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend, however. They now hit the road for back-to-back series against last place teams.
The Yankees need to win both of these series because when they return home August 4th, they have some hefty teams to face on their plate. But which Yankees will be vying for the AL East title at the point? The Bronx is boiling and I need to blow some steam.
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
When Chris Capuano started for the Yankees this past Saturday, he became the twelfth pitcher to make his Yankees debut in 2014. That may seem like an outrageously high number with a little over two months remaining, but it is small in comparison to the overall number. Ten other Yankees have made there debut this season in pinstripes this season as well. That’s a whopping 22 new faces that have appeared on a lineup card thus far in 2014. According to Brian Cashman, there are more to come.
How this team is still in it surprises me every day, but the simple truth is that they are. Eighty percent of their starting rotation is done, so they go out and get Brandon McCarthy who is suddenly pitching like a Cy Young nominee. They finally, after what seemed to be an eternity’s worth of attempts, landed Chase Headley and the guy has been scorching hot. Capuano himself looked okay despite the bullpen failing him. And Jeff Francis, well, he is just happy to be in the major leagues.
Now, four days away from the non-waiver trade deadline, the Yankees are faced with an important decision or two. I look at the names being dangled out there in trade rumors and it nauseates me. Jorge De La Rosa? Are you kidding me? The New York Yankees are targeting a guy who can barely pitch for Colorado. This does not make the Yankees a contender. Ian Kennedy was a nice target, until he got hurt on Sunday, but the asking price was too high. Ian Clarkin and Eric Jagielo should not be spoken in the same sentence unless the Yankees are getting Adam Wainwright in return.
Of course there is Cliff Lee. This guy’s name comes up every year and I don’t understand why. Not only has he rejected the opportunity to come to New York countless times, he seemingly lands in destinations where he has a chance to defeat the Yankees. And every year, right around the end of July, every beat writer in the five boroughs feels the Yankees need him.
This Yankees team is getting by, by the skin of their teeth. It started in the spring. Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka panned out, Brian McCann is finally coming around, but Carlos Beltran is damaged goods. I feel like every Yankees fan knew that coming into the season, just like they knew CC Sabathia was past his prime. They did little, if anything, to ensure themselves against the injuries that presumably have occurred.
This team doesn’t need a short term fix. Look at the yesteryears. They need a game-changer, someone that will help bring stability to the revolving door the Yankees call a 25-man roster. Take for example a trade made at the deadline in 1995, when the Yankees went out and got reigning Cy Young Award winner David Cone, and changed the face of their franchise forever.
A Bobby Abreu-type player would be nice, someone who was a .300 career hitter with 20/20 ability. The guys that keep coming up in trade talks now aren’t much more exciting than calling up a minor leaguer and giving them a chance. My editor, Billy Brost, has already commented on his view on John Danks being a trade target for the Yankees, and I couldn’t agree with him more. Danks was an elite pitching prospect who has never had a great season over his eight year career. His last three seasons have been dreadful, and Yankee Stadium is nowhere for a struggling pitcher to come and get his groove back.
Josh Willingham? This guy came out of no where at the age of 33 to have one All-Star season and has returned to being a mediocre player at best for the past two seasons, and the Yankees feel he is the answer to their right field problems? Marlon Byrd? What’s the fascination with this guy? Yes, he is having a nice season with 20 home runs and 60 RBI for the Phillies, but coming into this season, he had 106 total home runs over his previous 12 seasons. At 36, he is no spring chicken, and right now the Yankees need to be searching for someone that will play consistently well for a few seasons, because when this team can get healthy, there is a lot of potential for the oncoming years.
I know the Yankees need to make moves, but making moves for the sake of trading isn’t the right play. Our farm system is really coming around, and to give up any of the Top 20 prospects requires getting a star in return. Not a stopgap, not a guy that was once good, a star. This is where the Yankees can control their destiny. Will Cashman do it right or will he pull the wrong trigger? We will know our fate by Thursday.